Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Solar Photovoltaics in Pacific Island Nations: An Analysis of Rural Household Electrification Strategies in the RMI and Vanuatu

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posted on 2021-11-15, 07:08 authored by Ungaro, Juliana

Rural electrification of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) through renewable energy is necessary for poverty alleviation, energy security, improved health, and to mitigate the effects of climate change, with solar PV being the preferred technological solution. However, electrification projects in PICs have had a high rate of failure, which has led to the adoption of various electrification strategies. This research has analysed the essential criteria for creating effective and enduring electrification models for rural household-scale electrification in PICs. A case study on self-initiated solar PV home systems (SHSs) demonstrated rural end-users‘ ability and desire to maintain SHSs of their own accord, while at the same time liberating their community of reliance on kerosene. The results suggested that market solutions that pay sufficient attention to social dimensions of project design and implementation are more likely to be successful in meeting end-users needs and providing enduring results. Such approaches have fewer organizational layers, allow for end-user participation and education, and encourage self-initiative. The need for such social solutions is well documented in the development literature, yet many of the electrification programs in PICs did not allocate sufficient funds to understanding and incorporating these social aspects. This research concludes that a proper balance in the overarching program design between the technical and social focus of projects is required, as each are equally important for project effectiveness and durability.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Weaver, Sean